Friday, December 19, 2014

2014 Topps Five Star - The Rest of the Dodger Cards

Here is a look at the rest of the Dodger cards that can be found in 2014 Topps Five Star Baseball.  Go here to check out all of my past post on this set.

Autographed Jumbo Patches

#FAJP-AG Adrian Gonzalez

#FAJP-HR Hanley Ramirez

Welcome to the Blue, Joe Wieland!


Along with Yasmani Grandal (I'll have a fantasy card for him up soon) the Dodgers received starting pitching prospect Joe Wieland in the trade for Matt Kemp.  Per a Dodger Press Release:
Wieland, 24, has gone 35-22 with a 3.27 ERA in 95 games (86 starts) in seven minor league seasons in the Rangers and Padres organizations from 2008-14. As a minor leaguer, he posted a 5.16 strikeout-to-walk ratio and averaged nearly a strikeout per inning, with 444 Ks and only 86 walks in 476.2 innings. He made his Major League debut at Dodger Stadium as a member of the Padres on April 14, 2012 and has gone 1-4 with a 5.31 ERA in nine big league games (seven starts) in 2012 and 2014. He missed the second half of the 2012 season and all of the 2013 campaign due to Tommy John surgery.

Wieland, pronounced WEE-lend, was acquired by San Diego along with Robbie Erlin in exchange for Mike Adams at the trade deadline in 2011, his best professional season. He was selected as a Single-A Carolina League mid-season All-Star and a Double-A Texas League post-season All-Star that year after going a combined 13-4 with a 1.97 ERA in 26 games (25 starts) with Double-A Frisco, Double-A San Antonio and Single-A Myrtle Beach. The Reno, NV, native was originally selected by the Rangers in the fourth round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
Known as a pitcher with fantastic control, he throws from a three quarters angle and an easily repeatable delivery.  Wieland has a two seam and four seam fastball, a curveball and a changeup. His heater is clocked in the low 90's. 

Weiland made his Major League debut in 2012 against the Dodgers on April 14th.  Unfortunately for him, he got hit hard.  Ironically, the man he was traded for, Matt Kemp, hit two home runs off him.  Andre Either hit one, as well.  Over five innings pitched he gave up six earned runs on six hits.

Then, after his fifth start that season he experienced arm problems that soon lead to Tommy John surgery, and it's been a hard road ever since.  After missing the entire 2013 season, Wieland had arthroscopic surgery on his pitching elbow in early 2014, and finally made a return to the mound in San Diego later that year. 

Like many of the pitchers the Dodgers have recently added to their roster, Joe Wieland is a risk, but based on recent reports, he might be a risk worth taking.  Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA:
Three years ago, Wieland was rated the Padres' No. 7 prospect by Baseball America, who also said he had the best control of any pitcher in the system.

Wieland has walked a miniscule 4.4 percent of hitters in his minor league career, and in his brief time in the majors has walked 8.1 percent of hitters (7.0 percent without counting intentional walks), roughly matching the National League average of 7.8 percent from 2012-2014.
It is likely that he begins 2015 in AAA, and depending on how he performs starting out, will probably be the first call-up when a starter is needed.

In celebration of Wieland's arrival to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photograph grabbed from a photo from Zimbio (Rich Pilling/Getty Images North America) and the 1959 Topps Baseball card design.

Below are the career stats for Joe Wieland, via Baseball-Reference:


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The Trade is Done - A Look at the Dodgers Bounty


After many days of grief then worry, the trade with the Padres is finally done.  And with that, the final pieces of an active and hopefully fruitful December have fallen into place.  Unless, of course, the Dodgers new brain trust decide to pull something off between now and the new year.

Per a Dodger press release from last night:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced the acquisitions of catcher Yasmani Grandal, right-handed pitcher Joe Wieland and right-handed pitcher Zach Eflin from San Diego in exchange for outfielder Matt Kemp, catcher Tim Federowicz and cash considerations.
This announcement was then followed with this Dodger press release this morning:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced the acquisition of shortstop Jimmy Rollins and cash considerations from Philadelphia in exchange for left-handed pitcher Tom Windle and right-handed pitcher Zach Eflin, who was acquired yesterday from San Diego.
Whew!  As you likely know, a little kink formed in the Padres trade that appeared to have the makings of a deal-killer.  It had been reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today that arthritis was found in both hips of Matt Kemp.  Soon, rumors were bandied about and screams were heard from all corners.

Did the Padres leak private data illegally?  Are Dodger fans really so loyal to Kemp that they would want him back on the team should the trade fall through.  After all, he can't at all be happy with the Dodger brass.  Do the Padres have buyers remorse and are they looking for a way to scuttle it.  More realistically, is this just posturing on the part of the Padres.  Are they so crass as to be willing to embarrass their own new player (Kemp) in hopes of getting some more cash? 

Per ESPN LA:
The deal was completed despite some possible lingering ill will between the Dodgers' front office and Preller because of the belief that Kemp's physical results were leaked to help San Diego pry further concessions out of its NL West foes, sources told ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne. The Padres did ask for additional compensation from the Dodgers after Kemp's physical, but Los Angeles refused.
Yup, it was all just a negotiating ploy, and the Padres were willing to use a player they had desperately wanted as a pinata.  Good job, guys!  I'm sure Kemp appreciates what you've done.

Anyway, now that the dust has settled I figured I'd provide a quick and easy rundown of the bounty the Dodgers received and exchanged.  Check out a listing below (along with links to 'Welcome' post I made, if available):
In exchange for (not including players acquired, but immediately used for a subsequent trade):
  • Matt Kemp, OF (5yrs remaning in contract) - to Padres
  • Dee Gordon, SS (Arb Eligible: 2015, Free Agent: 2019) - to Marlins
  • Dan Haren, SP (1yr remaining in contract) - to Marlins
  • Miguel Rojas, Utility Infielder (Arb Eligible: 2018, Free Agent: 2021) - to Marlins
  • Tim Federowicz, C (Arb Eligible: 2017, Free Agent: 2020) - to Padres
  • Tom Windle, SP Prospect with no Major League time yet - to Phillies
  • +Cash of roughly $42Mil ($32Mil for the Kemp Contract and $10Mil for the Haren contract)
BTW, the players we received, but immediately shipped out were:
  • Andrew Heaney, SP Prospect from Miami with no Major League Time and ranked the second best LHP prospect in all on Baseball - to Angels
  • Zach Eflin, SP Prospect from San Diego with no Major League Time.  He was drafted 33rd overall in 2012 Draft - to Phillies
And we did make two free agent signings:
That's a lot of movement for the Dodgers.  Heck, it's the busiest December in years.  No doubt the new Dodger front office has put their stamp on the team, and for better or worse we've got something new and different to watch come Spring.

On a side note, hasn't the activity we've been seeing throughout the league been weird.  It's as if all of these genius GM's decided to treat their teams like Baseball cards - trading players willy-nilly like they're children enjoying recess.  Strange!

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Blog Kiosk: 12/19/2014 - Dodger Links - Fernando's Visit and Vinny's Ring Found in Ribs


Fernando Valenzuela made an unannounced visit to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles yesterday to give gifts and joy to patients and families there.  Via Yvonne Carrasco at Dodger Insider:
“I wanted to visit the kids here at CHLA today because it’s almost Christmas, and I thought they might like Dodger gifts from me,” said Valenzuela. “I like this time of year, because it’s a time where you can do more things for the community.

“I also want to say I wish all the Dodger fans Merry Christmas, and I hope everyone is able to enjoy time with their families.”
The photo above was provided via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014Go here to check out more pics of Fernando's visit.

Below are some links to check out:
  • If you haven't heard yet, the Matt Kemp trade is done, and as a consequence the trade for Jimmy Rollins is also completed.  I'll have a little more on this later on.
  • RIP, Ryan Bolden.  Via The Angels, In Order, the Angels prospect was shot and killed on Wednesday in an altercation.
  • Following up the small incident where Vin Scully lost his 1988 World Series ring, Bill Plascke at the LA Times writes, "Dodgers' Vin Scully loses one golden ring in holiday loop around Costco."
Sure enough, while Vin was unloading the stacks of items, he heard a cry from inside the house. While emptying the ribs, Sandi found the ring at the bottom of the bag.

"I'm still laughing about it," said Vin. "But you know, I think I've been laughing about things all winter."

Scully phoned Costco's Rahhal and wished him Merry Christmas. He phoned the Dodgers' Brener and wished him Merry Christmas.

"This time of year just blows me away," said Vin.
  • The Dodgers made a minor trade yesterday by trading a bunch of minor leaguers, via their twitter feed:

We effectively gain a little bit of catching depth in the minor with the acquisition of Shawn Zarraga.  Check out his stats, via Baseball-Reference, here.  From what I understand, Zarraga has a nice bat, but is a bit subpar behind the plate. 

But, unlike the women immortalized by “A League of Their Own”, Manley wasn’t a member of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Instead, she made a name for herself in the Negro Leagues. The trailblazer served as co-owner of the Newark Eagles alongside her husband Abe Manley from 1935 to 1946. After he died, she was the team’s sole owner through the 1948 season.

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    Thursday, December 18, 2014

    The 2003 Dodger Fan Appreciation Baseball Card Sheet


    Here is a look at the final Fan Appreciation Card Sheet in my collection.  I am unsure if these were created for other years, but I suspect they were.  If you happen to have a more up-to-date price guide (mine is from 2000) then please look it up and let me know.  Go here to check out all of my past post on this give-away.

    This sheet is from 2003 and features perforated cards of Eric Gagne, Paul LoDuca and Hideo Nomo.

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    A Story of Lost and Found - Vin Scully's 1988 World Series Ring


    Something terrible had happened, but sooner than I could say, "I should blog this" the mystery was solved. Via a tweet from the @Dodgers, Vin Scully had lost his 1988 World Series ring:


    Then, less than 10 minutes later the @Dodgers tweeted this:


    Whew!  That was a close one.  I was worried that some unscrupulous person had walked off with his prize.  Worse yet, I was this close (hands spread about a foot across) to putting a hex on the person who would dare commit such an egregious act.  Heck, I was about to contact Vladimir Shpunt to send some "negative V" energy their way.

    Seriousness aside, the best part of this brief episode (besides finding the ring) were some of the wisecracks found throughout twitter.  Check some of them out below:


    A part of me is willing to believe the above is true.






    Photo at the very top via WorldSeriesRings.com

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    2014 Topps Five Star - The Dodger Base Autograph Cards

    Topps newest Baseball brand to hit the market is an high-end product called Five Star.  A single box will cost you about $300 and you receive only six cards; five of which are guaranteed to be autographed.  Go here to see a complete checklist.

    Featured below are all of the Dodger base autographed cards.  I'll have pics and a checklist of the remaining Dodger cards later on.  Of note, there is no Yasiel Puig autographed card in this set. 

    Active/Retired Autographs

    #FSA-AG Alex Guerrero                   #FSA-AGO Adrian Gonzalez

    #FSA-CK Clayton Kershaw                 #FSA-FV Fernando Valenzuela

    #FSA-HR Hanley Ramirez                    #FSA-SK Sandy Koufax

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    Blog Kiosk: 12/18/2014 - Dodger Links - Brett Anderson, Chris Hatcher and Congrats Landreaux


    Congrats, Kenny!  Fulfilling a promise made to his mother, former Dodger Kenny Landreaux graduated from ASU earlier this week.  Photo above via @camelbackranch on twitter.

    Below are some links to check out:
    Anderson generated ground balls 62% of the time with his slider from 2012-14, trailing only Felix Hernandez (66.3%) among starters throwing the pitch at least 500 times. Looking at his pitch location, it’s easy to see why. Anderson frequently spots his slider low in the zone, to his glove side.
    Considering it’s still December and games are nearly four months away, you can argue the Dodgers haven’t improved their chances in 2015, but it’s hard to argue they haven’t had a vision. As Friedman said over and over at his introductory media conference, it’s about trusting the process.
    As we wait for the Matt Kemp trade with the Padres - and its sidecar transaction, Jimmy Rollins from the Phillies - to become official, here is a look back at a December Dodgers trade that ended up not coming to fruition.
    • The cartoonish artistic stylings of our newest Dodger players just won't stop.  Featured above is a creation made by Dodger fan Ernie Villa on twitter.  So naturally, I had to make a fantasy Baseball card of it that you can see below; using the 2007 Topps Baseball design.  I wonder when this viral sensation will become a virus.
    • As you've heard by now, President Obama is moving toward normalizing relations with Cuba.  Politics aside, I wondered how this effects Baseball.  @MLB_PR on twitter released as statement addressing this.  Check that out below.  I also wondered if we may one day see ballclubs play exhibition or spring games there again.  Wouldn't that be a blast.  I wonder what Tommy and some of the other older Dodgers would think of that.


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    Wednesday, December 17, 2014

    The 2001 Dodger Fan Appreciation Baseball Card Sheet


    In appreciation of the new Dodgers front office and the myriad number of moves they've made recently (save the Kemp trade that has me miffed, but slowly coming around) check out the above 2001 Dodger Fan Appreciation Baseball card sheet.  As you know, these were given out during the last home game of the season on Fan Appreciation Day.  Go here to check out all of my past post on this give-away.

    This sheet features perforated cards of Gary Sheffield, Chan Ho Park and Paul LoDuca. 

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    Blog Kiosk: 12/17/2014 - Dodger Links - McCarthy, Puig Lawsuit and those New Kings Jerseys are Awful


    There are plenty of photographs of the field at Ebbets.  Heck, there are more photos of the advertising on the outfield walls than I can count.  But there are hardly any pics of what's inside the stadium; in particular the rotunda located behind home plate.  Via @MLBcathedrals on twitter they share a rare photo that you can see above.

    The rotunda was 80-foot round and made of Italian marble.  Also, there were ornate chandeliers hanging from the rafters that had light fixtures shaped as Baseballs.  To most fans it was a sight to behold, and in homage to this Baseball wonder Citi Field, where the Mets play today, recreated it.  They call it the "Jackie Robinson Rotunda."

    Below are some links to check out:
    Investigators say Suarez was one of the Miami-based financiers of the 2012 smuggling venture in which Puig was taken by boat from Cuba to Mexico. The financiers were to receive a cut of the seven-year, $42 million contract Puig later signed with the Dodgers.

    Prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of any money Suarez got from Puig's contract, in addition to a house, a condominium, a Porsche and a Mercedes-Benz.
    • Via Cary Osborne at Dodger Insider, "In 2015, the Dodgers will go to WAR with a formidable top four."
    • Via Blue Skinny Fan, "Nomar Garciaparra Autograph Signing at Glendale Galleria (12/13/14)."  There are some nice photos to look through.
    • Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider, "Dodgers send Noel Cuevas to Rockies in Juan Nicasio deal."
    • Just another fantastic post by Night Owl Cards, "Thinking outside the box."  I don't think it's a stretch to say that the 1991 Topps set is the best and most under-appreciated set of the modern card era.
    • I am not a fan of the new LA Kings Stadium Series Jersey.  Pic below via @SI_NHL on twitter.  What's up with the white pants? It makes it look like he's wearing pajamas.  Others have noted that it is Stormtrooper-like.
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